It was a nice job by the Edge snapper, who managed to capture the whole touch-down, just 30 metres or so from the pursuit vehicle. Check out Edge's summary video of the flight above, and you'll see the same landing, shot from the team's pursuit aircraft:There are pluses, though. The primary feature of Surface is its combination of compact size with the ability to do a fair impersonation of a laptop, mainly thanks to the clever keyboard cover, a very thin detachable keyboard that offers some protection when folded over the screen. Once you have enjoyed its small size conventional laptops and even most ultrabooks (slim PC notebooks) seem annoyingly bulky by comparison.Surface is a tablet though it is more frequently seen used like a laptop. The reasons include touch app shortage and that users buy Surface to run Office and other desktop apps. Still, the touch screens have always worked well, and the tablet personality has its uses.
Microsoft designed the Surface range to showcase Windows 8, but as Windows 8 is giving way to 10, Surface is also retreating from the Windows 8 concept. Surface Pro 3 was the first to show this, with a larger 12” screen which departs from the earlier 16:9 aspect ratio. It's designed to work nicely with the Windows 8 “Snap” feature for multiple apps on screen. The problem with 16:9 is that it feels awkward in portrait mode, being tall and thin.The Surface Pro 3 has a 3:2 aspect ratio with a lovely 2160x1440 screen. It is a great laptop replacement but a little too large for mobile tablet use, showing how the desktop is now getting priority.That brings us to Surface 3, on which this review is being typed using Windows 10 and Word Preview, one of Microsoft’s free “Universal Office” apps. Surface 3 runs a quad core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 at 1.6GHz, which is capable of bursting to 2.5GHz.Atom is Intel’s low power chip for embedded and mobile devices, and a high-end Atom offers reasonable performance while remaining power-efficient. The Surface 3 is the successor to the failed Surface RT range, with lower price and a long battery life. It's not, however, intended as a desktop replacement or MacBook competitor.
How good is Surface 3 performance? The short answer is that it plenty good enough for everyday work, though no powerhouse. Google’s Octane 2.0 benchmark scored 4262 in a quick test, when run in Internet Explorer 11, rising to 7317 in the Edge (Project Spartan) browser. The Core i5 Surface Pro 1 achieved 6247 on the same test, with IE11.Graphics and gaming is the weak point. Surface 3 can manage about 20 FPS with 20 fish in Microsoft’s FishGL demo, whereas Surface Pro 1 does 43 FPS. Nevertheless, Surface 3 is a long way ahead of the Surface 2 (ARM Tegra 4), which it replaces: 2360 on Octane 2.0 and nearer 17 FPS on FishGL even with fewer effects enabled.The screen on Surface 3 is 10.8 1920 x 1280, giving it the same 3:2 aspect ratio but a more tablet-friendly size than its Pro sibling. You get either 2GB RAM and a 64GB SSD, or 4GB/128GB which is recommended since 64-bit Windows runs more sweetly with 4GB.
There is also a single USB 3.0 port, a micro USB port for charging, microSD slot, mini display port, and front (3.5 MP) and rear (8MP) cameras. USB charging is a plus, though it charges more quickly using its dedicated charger. The compact size of Surface 3 is ideal for travellers.A pen is an optional extra and useful for handwriting or sketching in apps like OneNote, or for designers and artists working with drawings. Clicking the top of the pen opens OneNote, except that this does not work in Windows 10 currently; presumably this will be fixed before launch. There is nowhere to attach the pen, unless you buy the optional pen loop which sticks (not strongly enough) to the keyboard cover.Surface 3 is a nice Windows tablet, though a problem is the premium you pay for its portability. The Surface 3 that you want, with the larger RAM and SSD plus a keyboard cover, comes to £608.99 inc VAT, or £653.98 if you want the pen.That would buy you something like, say, an HP Envy 15, a 15 laptop with Intel Core i5, 1TB hard drive, 8GB RAM, NVidia GEForce GT 840M graphics and four USB 3.0 ports. You don’t get a touch screen or pen, though, and if you need the pen capability then Surface 3.0 suddenly looks good value.
- Dell Latitude E6420 Battery
- DELL Latitude E6120-All Battery
- DELL Latitude E5520-All Battery
- Dell Latitude E5520 Battery
- Dell Latitude E5500 Battery
- Dell Inspiron XPS M1710 Battery
- Dell Inspiron XPS M1505 Battery
- Dell Inspiron N4010D Battery
- Dell Inspiron N3010D Battery
- Dell Inspiron 3700 Battery
- Dell Inspiron 3500 Battery
- Dell Inspiron 1570 Battery
- Dell Inspiron 1546 Battery
- Dell Inspiron 1425 Battery
- Dell Inspiron 1370 Battery
- Dell Inspiron 17 -1764 Battery
- Dell Inspiron 15 -1564 Battery
- Dell Studio XPS M1640 Battery
- Dell Studio XPS 1647 Battery
Microsoft fiddled with the design of the keyboard cover for Surface 3 and Pro 3. In order to make it more rigid when used on a lap, there is now a little section that folds back along the bottom of the screen. This is a compromise though, since in this position you cannot easily tap icons on the taskbar. The solitary USB port is another issue; it is a shame Microsoft cannot find room for a second one.As regular readers know, the LOHAN mission has a custom set of Pixhawk parameters, outlined here. Whereas on the first test flight back in October last year, we were simply running the MAV_CMD_NAV_ASCEND_WAIT, aka ALTITUDE_WAIT, during which the Pixhawk wiggles the servos every 15 seconds, to prevent them freezing, this time around Tridge ran a full LOHAN mission, adapted for PRATCHETT as follows:Andrew noted: Most other parameters were fairly standard, apart from having INTIAL_MODE=AUTO so it would start in auto if it happened to reboot in flight, and SKIP_GYRO_CAL to prevent it recalibrating if it had a power outage and restarting. The safety switch was also disabled.
Of course, the Pixhawk wasn't actually controlling an aircraft, but none the wiser, acted as if it were, becoming suitably frustrated by the lack of success in getting its canards to operate, as Andrew put it.All of this madness was relayed in real time to Tridge via the 900Mhz radio, and here's what he could see as the payload hit 18km...Naturally, I wasn't going to miss out on the fun, and Andrew shared his screen, meaning we were simultaneously monitoring in Australia and Spain, in a three-way Skype chat with David, while the mission unfolded in the US. Impressive stuff:At the top right, you can see the graph indicating the servos operating every 15 seonds in wiggle mode, while the snippet of Skype chat shows Tridge and David wrangling the radio, more on which in a minute.Overall, the batteries performed as expected during the mission, and we're satisfied they can do the job, even if current draw may be greater during the descent phase of the real Vulture 2 due to aerodynamic forces putting extra strain on the servos. Here's the voltage plot for the entire flight:Regarding temperatures, Andrew reported: Here is a temperature plot from all the logged temperatures. The airspeed sensor probe got to -48°C at an altitude of around 18km. The other Pixhawk sensors stayed much warmer as they are warmed by the electronics.
What's important to note here is that the exposed airspeed sensor probe didn't freeze up, and it's therefore safe to assume that the one mounted in the nose of the Vulture 2...Some things mysteriously work better on Surface 3 than on another Windows slate I have been testing. Voice input works in Cortana, for example; the first time I have seen this working. I asked “what’s the weather tomorrow” and was rewarded with a nice little chart, though with yellow rain, whatever that means.Another working feature is Continuum, which prompts for Tablet Mode if you fold back the cover. Tablet Mode, though, is still not as good as Metro in Windows 8. Icons on the taskbar are too small for comfort and the taskbar is now always present.The new Start menu is better integrated with the desktop, but for tablet users the old Start screen was easier to use. The new “all apps” list on the left side is more fiddly than the old full-screen list. The solution is to make sure you pin the apps you are likely to use to the Start menu.
“Snapping” apps side-by-side still works in Windows 10 but using different gestures. Let’s say you are working in Word Preview and want Calculator open alongside it. You drag the Word Preview title bar down and left, until a shaded box appears on the screen indicating that you are about to snap the app right. Release the title bar, the app fills half the screen, and you can now select Calculator (if it is running) or use the Start menu to open it, whereupon it fills the other half of the screen. You then drag the divider to your taste.Tablet Mode is primarily a full screen mode though, and one thing that works well is a swipe in from the left to change apps (a loose equivalent to Alt-Tab though slightly different). Half the problem for tablet users is that those now used to Windows 8.x have to learn new ways to work, since Microsoft has discarded so much of the UI.The new team is also more desktop-focused – as evidenced by the recent decision to scrap the “Modern” Skype app – which means that tablet users are somewhat neglected.Microsoft has changed the on-screen keyboard in Windows 10. There is a new split view designed for thumb typing on a tablet. This is a nice way to show more of the document, though from my experience, getting a decent typing speed is challenging. However there is no sign yet of the excellent Word Flow keyboard found in Windows Phone, which lets you form words by tracing your fingers from letter to letter.
- Dell Studio XPS 1645 Battery
- Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery
- Dell Precision Mobile WorkStations M6400 Battery
- Dell Precision Mobile WorkStations M4400 Battery
- Dell Precision Mobile WorkStations M2400 Battery
- Dell Precision M6600 Battery
- Dell Precision M6500 Battery
- Dell Precision M6400 Battery
- Dell Precision M6300 Battery
- Dell Precision M4600 Battery
- Dell Precision M4500 Battery
- Dell Precision M4400 Battery
- Dell Precision M4300 Battery
- Dell Precision M2400 Battery
- Dell Precision M2300 Battery
- Dell Latitude E6540 Battery
- Dell Latitude E6530 Battery
- DELL Latitude E6520-All Battery
- Dell Latitude E6440 Battery
- Dell Latitude E6430 XFR Battery
A big reason why Windows 10 will be better than its predecessor for Surface and tablet users is the arrival of Universal Office. You get Word, Excel and PowerPoint, in touch-friendly versions with enough features for most day to day use. Word, for example, supports features including paragraph styles, images, shapes, tables, page numbering, change tracking, multiple columns, endnotes and citations as well as usual word processing functions.You have to live without things such as grammar checking and Visual Basic macros, but it does make a strong tablet word processor, presuming Microsoft fixes bugs like saving a copy to OneDrive and finding an empty document. This may be more to do with the notorious OneDrive than with Office itself.Talking of bugs, I encountered numerous examples in testing Windows 10 on Surface 3, including out of memory errors, unexpected app resizing, and complete crashes. The test Build 10074 was released at the end of April, so no doubt some of these have been nailed, but quality at this late stage is still a concern.
OneDrive is poor, and not only because of the lack of the Windows 8 placeholder feature that let you see all your files while only downloading what you need. Windows 10 also prompted regularly for me to verify my identity by re-entering my Microsoft account password. Users should await reports before upgrading, even when the first non-preview release appears at the end of July.Strangely, the effect of reviewing Windows 10 on Surface 3 is to make you better appreciate the maligned Windows 8. It may be irritating on a desktop, but for tablet use Windows 8.1 works well, the gestures feel natural and the immersive user interface is great for web browsing. Windows 10 feels rougher, not only because of bugs in the preview, but also because restoring a desktop focus has made the tablet experience worse in some respects. Of course, we will be sure to revisit this when the final version is available.Still, Windows users have to work in the desktop most of the time, since that is where the applications are, and Surface 3 users will want to upgrade once the bugs are squashed, especially considering that Universal Office is so well suited for this device.
The radio setup was a RFD900 running at 27dBm on the ground station, with a 6dBi yagi. The payload in the balloon had a RFD900u running at 15dBm.Note that the RFD900 is capable of transmitting at 30dBm (1W) but we reduced it to 27dBm on the day to prevent issues with drawing too much power from the laptops USB bus. The RFD900u is capable of transmitting at 20dBm but we reduced it to 15dBm as we had an issue in preflight checks with the power supply to the Pixhawk browning out the radio when the RFD900u was set to full power. Reducing by 5dB fixed that.The olive line is the distance from the payload to the ground station (including both horizontal and vertical components). So the payload got to a maximum of 34km away from the ground station. The line stops at the right side of the graph when the payload lands and we lose link completely, about 25km from the ground station.The red and green lines are the signal strength and noise levels in RSSI units as seen at the ground station. A link can be maintained as long as the red line stays above the green line. It shows that a good link from the payload down to the GCS was maintained over the whole flight, with only a few very brief periods where the link dropped (you can see when the link dropped when the yellow line goes to zero).